“Brokeback” Opera: Why Wuorinen?


Last September, lemonwade told you that “Brokeback Mountain” was being turned into an opera. The commission, it turns out, was from New York City Opera, which will premiere the work in 2013. “Ever since encountering Annie Proulx’s extraordinary story I have wanted to make an opera on it,” says the composer Charles Wuorinen (pictured), who has been given the assignment. “It gives me great joy that Gerard Mortier and New York City Opera have given me the opportunity to do so.” Unlike Wuorinen, I’m not sure every opera lover has been greeting all this as tidings of great joy. His demanding style of serialist modernism wouldn’t necessary seem the logical fit for Proulx’s tale of love between two sheepherders. On the other hand, I’m a lot more interested to see what Wuorinen will make of the material than I would be to see what, say, someone like glitzy-musical writer Jerry Herman (“I Am What I Am”) would make of it. In other words, I’d prefer to see Ennis and Jack singing 12-tone melodies than wearing two-tone cowboy boots. Of course, there’s another option: an adaptation that doesn’t forego audience-pleasing melody but that treats the story with the tragic, tricky emotion it deserves.

One Comment to ““Brokeback” Opera: Why Wuorinen?”

  1. Ennis, I miss you…

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